City Council’s plan is not fiscally responsible

15 years ago

To the editor:
    I am writing this letter as a physician who has practiced in this area of central Aroostook County for 20 years and as a tax paying citizen of Presque Isle.
    The Presque Isle City Council has voted to discontinue their subsidy payment to Crown Ambulance Service and is considering a proposal to establish an ambulance service through the Presque Isle Fire Department.  Their proposal is to establish an ambulance service, licensed at the EMT–intermediate level, and based at the fire department. They understand that there will not be an expected increase in the number of emergency calls in our area and that, having a competing service with Crown Ambulance, they will be diluting the number of calls per EMT on both services and reducing the expected revenue that will come from these calls. Each service will have to maintain their staff and provide the equipment and supplies needed to perform their jobs as emergency care providers, but do so with reduced revenue.
    The City Council of Presque Isle has heard from over 100 people who have been against their decision to stop the subsidy to Crown Ambulance and who are not in favor of starting an ambulance service to compete with Crown Ambulance. Yet, the City Council has ignored these opinions and is moving along with their own agenda. One of the City Council members suggested that the entire budget for the city of Presque Isle was too much and that there were other ways to trim this budget rather than stopping the subsidy to Crown Ambulance and starting their own ambulance service. Only two of the seven voting members of this council voted to support Crown Ambulance. Over of the past eight months, The Aroostook Medical Center has actively negotiated two different proposals with the council that would effectively increase the city’s revenues by $50,000 to $100,000. The City Council failed to accept either of these proposals.
    The City Council of Presque Isle has a responsibility to represent the people of Presque Isle and make judgments that protect us fiscally, as well as morally and ethically. Proposing an ambulance service inferior to what we have come to rely upon, Crown Ambulance, and voting to end the subsidy for that excellent, high quality service provided by professionally trained staff, amounts to the City Council completely ignoring their responsibility to the people of Presque Isle, our families, friends, and visitors.
    If we believe that the citizens of Presque Isle deserve the right to have well trained, high quality, and professional staff to provide emergency care to this community, then how can we stand by while our city leaders make decisions that jeopardize our emergency health care? The City Council’s vote to discontinue the subsidy to Crown Ambulance and their proposal to establish an ambulance service that is inferior to our current service are not fiscally responsible. This is true especially because there are many other areas within the city budget where cuts can be made to prevent this potentially catastrophic decision.

Roger T. Pelli, DO, FACOFP